Ingmar Bergman

On this date in 1918, Ingmar Bergman was born in Uppsala, Sweden, the son of a strict Lutheran minister. He studied art and literature at the University of Stockholm, went into theater, and made his directorial film debut in 1944. His 1955 "Smiles of a Summer Night" attracted international acclaim, followed by "Wild Strawberries (1957), "The Seventh Seal" (1957)—in which a knight portrayed by Max von Sydow challenges Death to a duel of chess—"The Virgin Spring" (1960), "Persona" (1966), "Scenes from a Marriage"—costarring one of his favorite actresses, Liv Ullman (1974)—and "Fanny and Alexander," which won a "best foreign film" Oscar (1983). His 50 feature films often explored existential questions. Bergman once said, "I believe in other worlds, other realities. But my prophets are Bach and Beethoven." (New Yorker Staats-Zeitung July 9, 2005.) D. 2007.

"I have struggled all my life with a tormented and joyless relationship with God. Faith and lack of faith, punishment, grace, and rejection, all were real to me, all were imperative. My prayers stank of anguish, entreaty, trust, loathing, and despair. God spoke, God said nothing . . . No one is safe from religious ideas and confessional phenomena . . . We can fall victim to them when we least expect it. It's like Mao's flu, or being struck by lightning . . . You were born without purpose, you live without meaning, living is its own meaning. When you die, you are extinguished. From being you will be transformed to non-being. A god does not necessarily dwell among our capricious atoms."

—-Ingmar Bergman, The Magic Lantern, an autobiography (1987), cited in Who's Who in Hell, edited by Warren Allen Smith

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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